Jesse Peters, Dean of Arts & Sciences

Message from Dean Jesse Peters

Welcome to Fort Lewis College. Thank you for visiting our website, and I hope you enjoy exploring our many programs of study.

At Fort Lewis, students are engaged participants in their own learning. Because of our low student to faculty ratio and our commitment to experiential learning and undergraduate research, students enter an environment where they receive hands-on instruction and are exposed to real-world experiences.

Here, education means more than classroom lectures and final exams. Our students are exposed to a variety of learning environments as they develop the skills needed to be successful in their chosen professions. From collaborative project development to community engagement, students have opportunities to work across disciplines and to take control of their own learning. Upon graduation, a Fort Lewis student is definitely ready to start a career. But, more importantly, that student is also prepared to travel the multiple roads that open up during a career. Our students know how to innovate, collaborate, adapt, and communicate. FLC graduates are prepared to build their own futures.

Our faculty are deeply dedicated to student learning and student success. They do more than teach; they build communities and empower students to have a positive impact on society.

Whether students enter our computer engineering program, our Native American and Indigenous Studies program, our journalism and media studies program, or any other major, they will be a part of an educational experience that prepares them for success in a rapidly changing world.

Our students become more than experts in their fields; they learn how to learn. Because of our commitment to a Liberal Arts Core of classes, Fort Lewis College graduates are prepared to adapt to changing environments, engage with diversity, work collaboratively, think creatively, and map out their own paths.

Choose Fort Lewis College and take control of your education. We are waiting for you.

-- Jesse Peters


Dr. Jesse Peters is Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Fort Lewis College. He received his A.A. from Oxford College of Emory University and his B.A. from Emory College of Emory University. Both his M.A. and Ph.D. are from the University of New Mexico. Before coming to Fort Lewis College, he was a tenured full professor in the departments of American Indian Studies and English, Theatre, and Foreign Languages at The University of North Carolina Pembroke.

Since coming to Fort Lewis College, Dean Peters has overseen the development of new programs in Environmental Science, Health Science, Nutrition, Computer Engineering, Borders and Languages, and Musical Theatre. He also reorganized the school into five divisions to increase interdisciplinarity and encourage innovation and collaboration. In 2017, he wrote and was awarded a Mellon Foundation Grant ($500,000) to promote inclusive pedagogies and strengthen DEI initiatives at Fort Lewis College. Dean Peters has a commitment to hiring diverse faculty and staff, strengthening Native American and Indigenous Studies, and building an academic community centered on respect and inclusion. He also served as Interim Provost in 2018-2019; during that time he launched a Student Success and Retention Action Plan which led to a First-Year Launch Program, a Micro-Grant Program, a Summer Bridge Program, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee. In 2019, he formed and chaired the Committee on FLC History that made recommendations to the president regarding the institution's boarding school history.

Dr. Peters specializes in Native American literature and studied under the late Louis Owens while at UNM. He has also taught creative writing classes and published poetry in several journals, including The Denver Quarterly, Zone 3, The Lullwater Review, The Vassar Review, and The Owl Eye Review. In 2006, he guest-edited an issue of Pembroke Magazine focused on Native American Literature. Dr. Peters was nominated for the UNC Board of Governors Teaching Award, and he won the UNCP Award for Excellence in Teaching twice, in 2003 and 2015. He has published on the work of Linda Hogan, Louis Owens, Aaron Carr, and Tom King. Currently, he is working to combine creative non-fiction and scholarly discourse, examining issues of sovereignty and motion as articulated in contemporary Native American fiction.

While on the faculty at UNC Pembroke, Dr. Peters served the university in many capacities. He was elected chair of the Faculty Senate as an untenured Assistant Professor and then worked to expand the duties and roles of the senate chair. He served on the Faculty Senate for almost half the years he was on the faculty and chaired the Academic Affairs Committee, the Committee on Committees and Elections, the Faculty and Institutional Affairs Committee, and the Faculty Governance Committee. He also served on the Student Affairs and Campus Life Committee. He co-founded ReVisions: Best Student Essays of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and served as co-editor. He serves on the National Collegiate Honors Council Honors Semesters Committee and frequently co-facilitates national faculty institutes on experiential learning.

As Dean of the Esther G. Maynor Honors College, he solidified that program, revising the curriculum and graduation requirements, developing living-learning communities, increasing the diversity of the student body, and expanding co-curricular activities. As Director of Undergraduate Research, he developed the annual undergraduate research symposium hosted by the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center.

He is originally from Georgia and grew up on a farm in the southern part of the state. He started out as a business major in college but switched to English after having a class with a dynamic professor during his freshman year. Originally interested in southern authors like Faulkner, Welty, and Percy, he was eventually drawn to the work of Native American authors and decided to pursue a graduate degree at the University of New Mexico in Native American Literature. His leadership style is heavily influenced by the indigenous worldviews and Native American mentors he has engaged with over the last thirty years.

Dr. Peters loves teaching, mentoring students, and he uses his administrative and shared governance roles to enable faculty to be the best teachers possible. As a first-generation college student, he believes in the ability of higher education to bring about meaningful change in the world. For him, helping foster a positive and collaborative environment where faculty and staff work together as members of an active and productive community is the greatest part of working at a college.